Transformers Animated Slipstream: cosplay photos from Auto Assembly 2015

To round off our week of posts about Auto Assembly 2015, here are the official photos of me cosplaying as Slipstream, taken by the talented Dean Stead Photography.  I’m really happy with how these came out; they’re probably the best shots I’ve seen so far in terms of showing off the costume.

AddAltModeR as Decepticon Slipstream. Taken during the cosplay parade at Auto Assembly 2015

AddAltModeR as Decepticon Slipstream. Taken during the cosplay parade at Auto Assembly 2015

More photos after the cut…

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Convention Review: Auto Assembly 2015, Part Three

This is the third and final part of our jointly-penned ‘AddAltMode does Auto Assembly’ feature. This time starring Michael Bay movie replica vehicles, 3rd Party toys, James Horan and Peter Spellos, and an emotional convention round up.

Movie replica Optimus Prime truck

Movie replica Optimus Prime truck

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Convention Review: Auto Assembly 2015, Part One

So, we went to Europe’s largest Transformers convention, Auto Assembly 2015, and all we got was…. this lousy T-shirt? Well, I did get a T-shirt, two in fact, but neither of them is lousy. How about what we got was an absolutely wonderful experience, some amazing memories and, uh, a rather large haul of plastic figures (more on that later).

We’re going to write up our thoughts and observations from the weekend as a series of three jointly written posts. So here we go with part one… which predominately features the Friday night, fangirling over Sumalee Montano and quite a bit of shopping and toy talk.

Some of the many AA banners around the venue

Some of the many AA banners around the venue

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Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards

I’m super-excited for the new Gloryhammer album, Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards.

If found, please return to the nearest space pub.


It’s a concept album, and unsurprisingly, given the title, it looks like Gloryhammer have taken their first album’s so-cheesy-it-becomes-awesome fantasy themes, loaded them onto a starship and sent them through a wormhole deep into the sci-fi sector.

Metal lyrics often have an imaginative component — dreaming of fantasy worlds or possible futures. This willingness to break from the mundane is one of my favourite things about the genre (aside from the obvious stuff); metal is a great place to escape the daily grind and have some real fun, and fun is Gloryhammer’s strong point. Seeing them live is a fantastic experience; it’s like a heavy metal pantomime.

Visually, I get a real Space Crusade vibe from that video. Maybe it’s just me?

Longtime readers will know already that Science-fantasy themed heavy metal ticks a number of AddAltMode’s boxes, but the anticipation of this forthcoming album has had me thinking recently about other sci-fi metal bands.

A lot of this metal is black; as black as the depths of space.

4 under-rated metal albums with science-fiction themes.

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Blog Milestone: our 100th post!

Yes, we’ve reached our first big blogging milestone here on AddAltMode, post number 100. Let’s celebrate!

100 posts

Ultra Magnus can’t entirely deal with this celebration business right now, but he’s making an effort for us.

We started this blog at the beginning of this year, January, that month of good intentions so many of which quickly morph into failed resolutions. AddAltMode could easily have been another abandoned project on that list, but instead 8 months on, here we are, still blogging, massively enjoying doing so, making friends and slowly growing the site. Thank you to everyone who has read, followed, liked or commented so far. Beyond doubt the most rewarding aspect of blogging on WordPress has to be the sense of community here and though we are still a very tiny site and will probably always remain that way we’ve met some great people as a result of writing here and enjoyed some really good discussion, both here on AddAltMode and on some of the other blogs we follow.

100 posts in seems like a good time to pause and reflect on some of the things we’ve done, what has worked, what hasn’t and what we’ve learned as a result…

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Countdown to Auto Assembly: His and Her Thoughts

Next weekend is our wedding anniversary. We’ll have been married seven years and we’ve been saying for most of that time that one year we ought to celebrate our wedding date with a weekend away in a nice hotel somewhere. Well, this year we’re actually going to do just that: we’re off to the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham. But we didn’t just randomly pick that destination out of a tourist guide. No, in a lucky stroke of perfect timing it just so happens that this year our wedding anniversary weekend coincides with Auto Assembly, Europe’s largest Transformers convention! What better way to celebrate our love than in the company of plastic robots and hundreds of other Autobot and Decepticon enthusiasts?

Official logo of Auto Assembly 2015

Official logo of Auto Assembly 2015

This will be our first time, not only at Auto Assembly but at any large residential convention on this kind of scale. Although hopefully it will be the first of many big convention experiences for AddAltMode, sadly, when it comes to Auto Assembly, it’s going to be our first, last and only, since it has been announced that after 15 years the event will be bowing out after this year.  At least we will have got the chance to experience it once. Let’s make sure we take lots of photographs and make it count!

We’re both hugely looking forward to the convention, but as first timers and self-confessed socially-awkward introverts we’d be lying if we said we’re not nervous about it too. In this jointly-penned post we’re going to discuss some of our hopes, excitements, expectations and anxieties about the forthcoming event.

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Book Review: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Robo Reads

Title: The Windup Girl
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Published: Orbit: 2010

Few debut novels come as laden with accolades as The Windup Girl, which won its author both a Hugo and a Nebula award. Does it live up to the hype? There is no doubt that Bacigalupi’s debut novel provides a memorable and intense reading experience. Satisfyingly, this is a novel all about the subject of energy which itself hums and thrums with a vibrancy that can feel both heavy and intoxicating. I picked up the book as part of my ongoing mission to explore the depiction of robots in as many novels as possible. So I was surprised to find that although Emiko – the artificial “windup” of the title – undoubtedly is the catalyst for most of the novel’s key events, her individual story here is somewhat less engaging than the wider experience of Bacigalupi’s world-building. The Windup Girl follows a number of different characters along what is in each case essentially a quest for survival, whether that be the survival of an individual, a company, a city, a nation, an ideology, or even the survival of a species. Yet the real energy source in the book, the power that kept me turning the pages, comes less from character than from setting.  The plot may strain under the weight of a few too many coincidences but Bacigalupi’s dystopian world is intricate, memorable and worryingly credible.

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Chiptune Tuesday: NESBM

Welcome back to Chiptune Tuesday, and to the new-look AddAltMode. Yes, we’ve given our site an overhaul, do let us know what you think of the new look and layout.

Now, the Chiptune aesthetic is an interesting one; and to a great extent it stems from minimalism — a stripping away of unnecessary fluff to focus on what’s really important in a composition. It’s not the only genre of music that revels in a minimalistic aesthetic that I can enjoy, though, 2nd-wave black metal was also deeply rooted in minimalism. Let’s compare the 2 genres:

Chiptune Black Metal
Minimalist Aesthetics Minimalist Aesthetics
Many noted eccentrics in scene Many noted eccentrics in scene
Nostalgic for 1980’s and early 1990’s Nostalgic for 1980’s and early 1990’s

What if someone combined the two?

The little orcs in the bottom left corner actually look quite cute in this version.

Oh, someone totally went there.

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